Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day To Day Joy

Day to day joy must be there for you to be an effective anything in a public school, because it is absolutely essential in developing relationships and in giving you a buoyancy that will last, in the face of much that is drudgery and mundane routine. There is always something or someone to laugh about or with through the course of most school days, and there is an excitement in connecting with students when they do well, when they understand a concept, when they show growth of any kind. I enjoy looking at yearbooks and do comparisons on how different the freshmen Joe Bob is from the senior Joe Bob. There is so much kinetic energy on a high school campus that if you don't feel it, you are either numb or in the wrong place. Kids sense this immediately, and they will very carefully, irrevocably, shut you down if you don't possess it. Thankfully, I haven't had that happen to me often, but I do see it more clearly now that I am outside of the classroom when I am talking to kids about their teachers. They will run through a wall for someone who cares about them and can convey their job about them. They will go through the motions or fall far short for someone who simply shows up and glowers and reads the PowerPoint. Finding those moments of humor, exhibiting that passion for your subject, having a easy manner with students may be straining and take a lot of work, but the end result can't be more satisfying. And, you won't have good days, because something will go wrong when you are on the way to work or you might be struggling with the flu and still trudging on, or somebody on the front row might get sarcastic with you, but your ability to keep "performing" will speak volumes to your students about fortitude and resilience in life.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Sad Reality

You do this long enough, and you are going to lose students. In the time that I have been teaching and counseling, I have had students die by drunk drivers hitting them while they were going home and driving carefully, and while one was riding his bike after work on a lonely stretch of road with a friend. One seemingly blazingly happy girl who played basketball for me took a gun and killed herself shortly after quitting her job. 4 wheeler accident, drowning, and being hit after running a stop sign onto an odd stretch of road. Another was on the back of a motorcycle and her boyfriend hit a rock while going 100. After every single one, I have felt gut punched and sorrowful and a little lost, but almost disconnected because more often than not, it is the kids who need to be able to grieve. You lose students to other schools as their parents' marriages disintegrate, and they move. Some have such dysfunction at home that they have no shot at functioning at school, and they drift away or go abruptly in a discipline firestorm or running from truancy. I don't ever get used to any of those things, but I have learned to keep moving forward and try to help those I can help and those that want to be helped or supported.

Let Me Introduce Myself

My name is David Moore, and I live in a small town in Texas, while working in a large DFW area school district. I just finished my 4th year as a high school counselor, and I just grabbed the plaque from the district that signified my 10th year of service there.
21 years total is my collective experience in Texas schools, with four stops along the way, as I coached for 15 years, before settling into my current district and changing my pathway, as my life had changed. Adding the 4th child was the final decisionamaker in getting off the playing field and court for me, as was the completion of my wife Amy's education and new job as a classroom teacher. I plan on detailing some of her experiences as well through this venue, with her approval.
Every now and again, actually, too many nights, I have trouble sleeping. This generally runs from about early August to the middle of June, with some short intervals of sleep gorging around holidays and the infrequent Sunday afternoon nap. In part, I know it is certainly everyday worries or concerns or irritations or even positive adrenaline rushes from the kids and Amy and her day, but more often than not, it is that I feel my brain is percolating with too many moments to do with my day at school. There are some things that I feel I need to get out, and maybe this will help that, so I thought I would jot down some of the things I have learned. Maybe then I will snoozle like the kids, which is instantaneous, but I would settle for the 8 hours that Amy gets, only, I don't want to wake up at 4 and watch The Portrait of Dorian Gray or some such. Let me just say that I love my job, who I work with, where I work, and what we try to do. Maybe I am just missing the scoreboard showing me with more points at the end of the game.